To mark national Time to Talk Day KR Group’s Business Director Nicola Fraser gave us an insight into how KR Group are working to help end Mental Health stigma within the construction industry.
“Before becoming a full-time Director at KR Group I worked for 20 years in social work roles (mainly with care experienced young people) and in the health sector, working with adults, children and families to support their Mental Health. Within this time, I worked as a Mental Health Clinician at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital in the CAMHS team for 12 years.
In my job as a Director within the construction industry, my background is invaluable in allowing me to support my team’s Mental Health. The construction industry, historically, suffered from some negative stereotyping, which distracted from the fact that it is a highly skilled industry with an abundance of opportunity. I am committed to the positive image of construction, making sure my team are valued, well and proud of their input into the country’s infrastructure, economy and built environment.
Working in construction is often hard; there are constant deadlines to meet and it is a physically demanding job. If we can help everyone feel supported and offer information/advice about keeping emotionally and mentally healthy, it means we have a happier workforce who are focused and can work safely and efficiently.
To ensure that our staff's Mental Health is recognised we talk about the subject openly, and communicate information about common Mental Health conditions, problems and disorders through our Healthy Working Lives initiative. We are investing in the roll out of trained Mental Health First Aiders on site and in the office.
However, although the industry is changing, we still have a way to go to meaningfully change the way Mental Health is perceived. On construction sites in particular, there needs to be the growing sense that it is ok to tell someone at work that you are not feeling mentally well. Therefore, events such as Time to Talk are amazing in highlighting the importance of starting a conversation, checking in on others, listening and empathising.
We remind our staff often that everyone has Mental Health. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. Sometimes it can be both in the space of a very short time. It’s amazing how much better you can feel after putting the feeling into words and taking the thoughts out of your head, especially by confiding in others. It’s incredibly reassuring and actually not as scary as you might think. The leap of faith in opening up is always worth it and at KR Group we believe that the more we continue to have these small leaps, conversations and make changes, the more we can end the stigma surrounding Mental Health and break down these barriers that will lead to big changes.”
If you would like to know more about KR Group, please visit www.krgrp.co.uk or contact us on 01358 788 907.
You can also read an interview with two of KR Group's employees who are trained in Mental Health First Aid, find out more about their training and what the company is doing to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health in the construction industry here
KR Group is a steel, cladding and solutions company specialising in steel fabrication and installation; cladding installation; manufacture and install of sheet metal products; project management solutions and plant hire/maintenace.